Who knew it would take me 43 days to figure out how to write part II of my Disney blog series? Well, I did. Because frankly, I really didn’t want to write it. I came home from Disney and sat down for an hour and wrote down ALL the things I loved about Disney so I wouldn’t forget. And now I can’t find the post-it note. Kidding. Kind of.
But seriously. Usually writing comes fairly easily to me so it was a bit disconcerting to find myself opting to clean the urine off my bathroom walls instead of sitting down to write for my blog.
So I had to ask myself, why is this so hard for me to write? And why is there so much urine on my bathroom surfaces? And the answer may surprise you. (About the trip, not the pee. I’m a boy mom.)
My Disney trip was, well, just okay. I mean it was fun and I don’t at all regret going. But I didn’t really find it as “magical” as I hear people describe. Nothing funny even happened like when my kid was 3 and got his head stuck in the handle of his Olaf suitcase at the airport. I enjoyed it as the vacation away from work and responsibilities that it was, but I can’t say I wouldn’t have rather been on a beach sipping frosty alcoholic beverages brought to me by some super tan caribbean cabana boy. Now before you gather your pitchforks and feed me to the Beast, allow me to explain….
- The Land of the Lost. Most of the time, I had no idea where I was, which is to be expected on your first trip I suppose. I didn’t like the feeling of rushing around the crowded parks with my phone in my hand staring at an app that only worked some of the time. I found myself getting frustrated and crabby and almost throat-punched Goofy once when he couldn’t tell me how to get to Nowhereland. I thought to myself on multiple occasions, I shouldn’t have to be staring at my phone on vacation. I’m sure for the more seasoned Disney veterans, this isn’t as much of an issue for getting around, but we were rushing to make it to our Fast Pass destinations and dining reservations and being that we didn’t know Tomorowland from Todayland (or something), we didn’t really have a choice. Someone needs to become a Disney Park Guide for hire and just escort overwhelmed newbies around the parks all day. I imagine this would save marriages.
- The gift shop sneak swap. So basically this is every parent’s nightmare and it happens literally on every single ride there is in all 4 parks. Let’s use Space Mountain as an example here. What happens is you stand in line for 30 minutes which feels like 80 if you have a child under the age of 10, and then after a 3 second ride, the roller coaster actually spits you out into the very back of a large gift shop so you have no possible way of coming out without either a $45 souvenir you don’t want or your child hysterically crying and embarrassing you in public as they scream “I hate you! You never let me get ANYTHING!” at the top of their lungs. Times this by like 30 rides a day. So now I have 110 Disney figurines stuffed into my couch cushions and every cup holder of my non-minivan. Thanks Disney. I’m onto you. Fun times.
- The food prices. So if you read part I of my Disney series (which you can find here), you would know that I had my awesome Disney Planner hook me up with the super sweet dining plan. Which I would probably do again, however that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna complain about it a little first. So in a nutshell, the way it works is that you get a certain number of sit down, counter order, and snacks allotted to each person per day. Adults even get one alcoholic beverage of their choice with each meal! There actually ended up being more snacks than we could even consume and all we had to do was tip. Sounds simple. Sounds cheap. But the thing that gets my tiara in a tizzy is that the food prices are so inflated that almost every one of our meals was over $100. For a family of three with a kids meal! I completely agree with tipping but when a bottled beer is $12 and when we have to tip on their exaggerated food and alcohol pricing, it left a bad taste in my mouth. And it wasn’t beer.
- Bleeding feet. So I knew what I was getting into, but it didn’t stop it from happening and it’s not going to stop me from whining about it either. Holy Cinderella my feet hurt! I bought all the extra-padded, arch-supported, memory-foam-soled shoes I could find and even tried alternating them each day like all the Disney pros say you’re supposed to do. And yet I may as well have been wearing a glass slipper as I still proceeded to get new blisters within the first hour every day at each park. Halfway through our trip I ended up in my trusty old flip flops, with my ankles swelling to 4x the normal size by the last day. It was misery. It took 2 days after returning home with ice packs strapped to my feet to feel normal again. I don’t know how people survive 7+ day trips to Disney because I would actually die.
Okay, so it wasn’t all bad. Overall, it was a good vacation. A little less relaxing than I would have liked but the smile on my kiddo’s face made all the money and blisters totally worth it. I want to highlight what we loved as well…
- Animal Kingdom! This was by far our favorite park. The foliage alone made me feel like we were in another land and the park itself had a more laid-back vibe which is exactly what we needed on our last day. If we ever went back, we would skip the other parks and just wander around this one. I didnt even think about throat-punching one single person or animal the whole day.
- Pandora! So this is located inside Animal Kingdom too, but I feel it needs its own paragraph, it’s THAT good. If you’ve seen the movie Avatar, you will love this place. If you haven’t seen the movie Avatar, you will love this place. It is one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen! We spent time just wandering around looking at the exotic plants that were both real and created by hand, which was hard to discern most of the time. If you can swing it, be sure to spend time there both during the day and at night because when the sun goes down, it’s an entirely different and interactive experience with everything glowing including the ground!
- Flight of Passage- Again, this newer ride is inside Animal Kingdom located within Pandora but this was THE reason I went to Disney and it did not disappoint. Luckily our planner scored us Fast Passes and even more luckily, the ride was running that day. The entire day before we were there it was inoperable and there were some very unhappy people! On the day we went, the other highly sought Avatar ride, the Na’vi River Journey, was not running but I was okay with that since Flight of Passage was. I can barely put into words how amazing this ride was! If I could just live on this ride for the rest of my life it would be just fine. Okay, maybe not for the rest of my life, but seriously, this ride is amazing in every way. The fact that we were able to experience this high-tech virtual phenomenon with our 6 year old in between us was also incredible. We loved it so much we all decided to wait in line for an hour and a half to ride it again. This was a big deal considering that this was during the last hours of our vacation and by this time I couldn’t feel either of my feet and was contemplating hospitalization. Worth every second.
- The Biggest Surprise: My son loved the characters! It just so happened that I sort of accidentally booked a “character meal” which included a buffet-style lunch with Donald, Mickey, Daisy, and Goofy intermittently stopping by the tables for photo ops. My son was thrilled! We were genuinely perplexed and pleased that he was able to just be a kid and enjoy the silliness of the oversized costumed people and have a little character fun. Plus it softened the blow when we got the $145 bill. You just never know….
- Honorable Mentions:
Dole Whip- it really IS that good. It’s almost scary good. What is IN that stuff!?
Cast Members- they really ARE that helpful.
Counting the number of crying children in strollers that aren’t yours- Awesome.
So while it was fun, and we can now say we’ve been, and my son had a blast, I don’t imagine I’ll be going back any time soon. And that’s okay. Some people get matching Tinkerbell tattoos, have a Disney shirt for every day of the year, and plan their next trip before they’ve even left the resort. And then there’s me.
If you are thinking about going to Disney for the first time, or if you go every 6 months, consider using a Disney Planner like Courtney. It’s free and there’s no reason not to!
Lindsay has a freakish talent for being summoned for jury duty. Seriously. Help Me.